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Copyright Law

Copyright law is an area of intellectual property (“IP”) law devoted to protecting the creative expression of an idea – be it in the form of literary works, musical works, dramatic works, or visual works. Additionally, Copyright law gives the owner of a copyrighted work a number of exclusive rights, including rights to reproduce, distribute, perform and display the copyright work. Copyright law also gives the owner of a copyright the sole right to prepare derivative works (e.g., the right to publish a sequel to a book or a film).

Copyrightable Works

Copyright law can help protect many works which include some creative component – as well as things which many clients do not expect. This includes:

  • literary works;
  • musical works, (including any accompanying words);
  • dramatic works (including any accompanying music);
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • sound recordings; and
  • architectural works.

One benefit of consulting with Henderson Franklin’s IP attorneys is our ability to help discover potential, previously unrecognized sources of copyrightable material – “unlocking” hidden IP value.

Importantly, copyright law cannot be used to protect an idea itself (something for which patent law may be applicable). Moreover, copyright law cannot be used to protect facts (although the creative expression of facts can be protected).

You should always consult with a licensed attorney to evaluate whether a work is potentially eligible for copyright protection.

Copyright Registration Process

Securing a copyright registration is a relatively straightforward process. Henderson Franklin’s IP attorneys work with clients to prepare and file the necessary Copyright Office application paperwork, including the required fee and a “deposit” (i.e., a copy) of the applied-for work.

Next, a Copyright Office Examiner reviews the application who either approves it as-is or issues some form of correspondence. Current processing times can be found on the Copyright Office website by clicking here. When appropriate, Henderson Franklin's IP attorneys draft responses to such correspondence and otherwise advocate on behalf of copyright applicants.

Benefits of Copyright Registration

There are many benefits to securing a federal copyright registration, including:

  • the ability to file suit for copyright infringement;
  • eligibility to seek statutory damages, legal fees and costs in litigation;
  • the ability to register your copyright registration with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to police the importation of infringing goods; and
  • prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright (if copyright registration is secured before or within five years after first publication of the work).

Henderson Franklin's Copyright attorneys provide representation to numerous copyright owners. Please contact us for further assistance in this area of law.

For further assistance in this practice area, please contact one of Henderson Franklin's Copyright Attorneys Mark Nieds at 239-344-1153 or by email at mark.nieds@henlaw.com or Luca Hickman at 239-344-1307 or by email at luca.hickman@henlaw.com.

Click to download Henderson Franklin's Intellectual Property Brochure.